Equifax reported a breach. There are many ways criminals can get access to your personal info, and one of them is breaches to companies that store your personal information. This is exactly what happened. The security breach at Equifax could affect up to 143 million people in the United States and has also exposed "limited personal information" for an undisclosed number of Canadians.
Equifax is the largest credit bureau in Canada and is the bureau most used by lenders when making decisions on your creditworthiness. Whether or not you have ever signed up personally to Equifax, as a Canadian with access to credit, they have collected your information from banks and other lenders; lenders rely on this information in their assessment of whether or not to lend you money or give you credit (such as opening a new cell phone account or getting a mortgage).
Why does this matter to you?
Equifax says that it also identified unauthorized access to limited personal information from certain Canadian residents. If your data is stolen it could be used for identify theft. This highlights the ongoing risk we all face in this day and age. Although our personal data may not have been affected in this particular breach, we have to assume that at some point it could be.
What is identify theft?
Identity theft is when fraudsters steal your personal information, such as your name, social insurance number and sometimes credit card information. With this information, they can open new accounts (credit card, car loans), file fake tax returns, rent or buy properties, and engage in other criminal activity in your name. Most victims don’t realize they’ve been compromised until much of the damage has been done.
1. Free monthly Equifax credit score monitoring
Mogo is the only company in Canada offering free monthly monitoring of your Equifax credit score. At the beginning of each month, we update you with any changes to your score. Keeping regular track of your score will help you identify when something is potentially off.
2. New alert feature
We’re also working on new features, such as alerting you when there is a new inquiry on your bureau, which can help detect fraudulent activity even sooner.
Knowledge is power, and the more you know around this the better you can help minimize the risk of becoming a victim. We’ll be sending out and publishing regular information (like this blog) that will help you stay on top of the risks with tips on what you can do to protect yourself.